It’s Open Enrollment – And You Need to Know Immigrants and Their Family Members Have Rights When Applying for Health Insurance Coverage
It’s open enrollment for the health care law – also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” – which has increased access to high quality, affordable health care by allowing millions of people previously without insurance to get the health care they need. The ACA made great progress for the health of our nation, and we continue to do everything in our power to support, defend, and continue to make it better. However, as it stands, the ACA does not include everyone. This fact, coupled with the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration policies, creates fear and confusion about what rights immigrants and their families have to obtain health insurance – especially for undocumented families and families who have some members who are undocumented.
We’ve got you covered and we are here to help break it down for you. The ACA is still the law of the land. During open enrollment (November 1, 2017 – December 15, 2017) you can renew your insurance coverage or if you don’t have insurance coverage you can sign up. Go to the Health Insurance Marketplace where you can renew or enroll in the insurance plan that best fits your health needs and your budget. Once you sign up your health insurance coverage will be effective as early as January 1, 2018.
While most lawfully present immigrants are eligible to purchase private insurance and receive subsidies to make private health insurance coverage more affordable, undocumented immigrants and individuals who previously had DACA status were left out of coverage under the ACA. BUT undocumented families and families with undocumented members still have rights when it comes to accessing health care.
Here Is The Bottom Line: You Shouldn’t Have to be Afraid to Access the Care You Need. If You or a Family Member is Undocumented Know Your Rights:
- Immigrant families may continue to apply for or renew coverage for family members who are eligible.
- Even a person who is not eligible for the ACA, Medicaid, CHIP, or private health insurance can apply for an eligible family member.
- A person applying for a family member can be required to provide only the “information strictly necessary” to determine the family member’s eligibility. This means you don’t have to provide your citizenship or immigration status.
- For more information about your rights while enrolling in the ACA visit National Immigration Law Center’s FAQ: The Affordable Care Act & Mixed-Status Families
- There are really strong privacy rules that protect families applying for health insurance. Those privacy protections apply to families with some members who are undocumented. The information you provide can only be used to determine whether you are eligible for the program – not for immigration enforcement purposes. And the people who help you enroll are required to keep your information private and secure.
- But you shouldn’t provide your immigration status if you are not applying for health insurance for yourself.
- If you are undocumented you should not provide information about your status, but should instead say “I am not applying for health insurance for myself.”
- If you are applying for insurance coverage for yourself or a family member you don’t have to provide a Social Security Number if you don’t have one.
- Everyone has a right to an interpreter when applying for health insurance or seeking health care at no cost. Children shouldn’t be asked to translate for their parents or other family members.
- If you are uninsured, you have some health care options regardless of your immigration status such as:
- Emergency room care
- Community health centers, migrant health centers and free clinics
- And some states have additional resources for undocumented immigrants seeking health care. For more resources and information visit National Immigration Law Center’s Know Your Rights